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Language is complex enough alone but when we inject it with slang, abbreviations, codes and “Buzz” words, then we easily become confused and lose interest in whatever we are trying to understand. For example, the Computer Geek Speak includes Bits, Bytes, 2G or 3G or 4G, Web 2.0, etc. Even Auto Mechanic Speak says things like ABS, Calipers, DSA and DVLA, etc. So, Churches too have words that often are uncommon conversational words and even though they are important, they sometimes can be a “turnoff.”

The words of Jesus Christ, however, are clear and understandable in the Bible. For example, He said in Matthew chapter 11 Verse 30…“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” The GOOD NEWS is that the foundation of Christianity is VERY easy to understand. First, God the creator of the universe is the Head of and Supreme over all things. Why? Because, He created EVERYTHING, including you and me. Second, God loves us, more than we can grasp, because we are his children and He is our Father who wants a loving relationship with us. Third, He cannot abide (stand) SIN (bad thoughts and deeds) but He loves Sinners (ALL of us do sin). So, God created a way that we can be assured of having a loving relationship with Him and that was for Him to become Human, just as we are human, so humans could actually see, touch and talk to Him as Jesus Christ. Fourth, He loved us so much that He, in the form of Jesus, died to pay for our sins (yours and mine!). What a wonderful gift, as it says in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Now, why are there unfamiliar words we need to understand? Because we are curious beings; we want to understand God more deeply. Ology means “study of,” for example, “Bi-ology “is study of life and “Ge-ology” is study of the earth. The Greek word for God is “Theos.” When we put them together, we have our first word, Theology, that is, the study of God. We will begin with words (in bold italics) that describe and clarify the four pillars of Christianity, as put forth by Pastor Bill Foote in his study of 1Peter 3:8-12, Grace Springs Bible Church, Portola Springs, Irvine, CA., (with author’s enhancement using as a guide for appropriate words:

Pillar No. 1: Truths about God—are contained in the Canon (standard or basis of judgment), that is, the Holy Bible, that reveals the One Creator God who manifests (appears as) the Trinity (one in three and three in one). That is, three persons, God the Father Creator, God the Son (Jesus) Redeemer and God the Holy Spirit Counselor. The word Trinity is not found in the Bible but the three persons are revealed by the Canon in Deuteronomy 6:4, Isaiah 43:10, 1 Corinthians 8:6 and Matthew 28:19.

Pillar No. 2: Truths about Jesus—He is God (see “Trinity” in Pillar No. 1). Therefore, a theological phrase speaks of the Deity of Christ {meaning He is divine (God) and the second person of the Trinity}. Read Colossians 1:15-18, Hebrews 1:1-3 and Revelation 1:1-3. Jesus’ Incarnation (becoming human but remaining divine simultaneously) was God’s gift to us so that humans could identify with God and be saved through His death and resurrection. John 1:1, 14 testifies to this. Jesus’ Resurrection (return to life) confirmed His Deity and was observed by eye-witnesses that wrote about it in all four Gospel books, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Jesus’ second coming (His future rule of the earth) underpins His role in Eschatology (study of the end times) in which there will be a restoration of paradise on a New Earth and the final victory over sin and Satan. Read Revelation chapts.20-22.

Pillar No. 3: Truths about Mankind—We humans are born guilty and depraved before God and thus in need of a Savior because of Original Sin { from the rebellion of Adam and Eve in disobeying  God who gave all His children Free Will (to choose to obey God or disobey Him)}. Read Genesis chapter 3. God, however, provided us a way to overcome our depravity derived from the first “Adam” by the works of the second “Adam” (Jesus Christ) and thus provided Redemption (paying the price in blood for our salvation). Read 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 and Ephesians 2:3-4. 

Pillar No. 4: Truths about Salvation—Salvation (rescue or deliverance from the power and the penalty of sin) comes by grace alone thru faith alone in Christ alone, NOT by good works or Legalism (simply being a good person, obeying the law, without accepting Christ as Lord and Savior). Once we receive Christ’s salvation, we become a New Creation (…old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new, 2 Corinthians 5:17).These truths are underpinned by Paul’s letter to the Philippians 1:27 “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.”

Now that we have established several words important to the “essentials” of the Christian faith, we will define several additional theological words in the form of a Glossary (alphabetic list), as follows: (A) ADOPTION: Reception into the family of God, Ephesians 1:5. ANOINT: The application of oil on the body to set apart for a special position or for healing, Leviticus 8:12. APOCALYPSE: Revealing or unveiling of events during the last days (see Eschatology). APOLOGETICS: Study of the adherence to and defense of the Christian faith. APOSTLE: A disciple (follower) sent out to preach the Gospel, Mark 3:14. ASSURANCE: Security of a Believer’s salvation, Hebrews 10:22. ATONEMENT: Removing or covering sins from God’s sight through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Leviticus 17:11. (B) BAPTISM: Use of water for immersion or sprinkling to demonstrate publicly one’s belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It is a sign and seal of the New Covenant established by Jesus’ death and resurrection, Matthew 28:19. BORN AGAIN: A phrase describing one’s death to sin and subsequent birth to a new life in Christ, John 3:3. (C) CALLED: The invitation from God to Salvation and to His Service, Romans 1:1. CALVINISM: John Calvin (1509-64, French/Swiss Theologian) and his emphasis on doctrines of Predestination, Atonement and Grace. COMMUNION: A meal of wine/grape juice and bread in remembrance of Jesus Christ (also called Eucharist and Last Supper), Matthew 26:26-29. CONVERSION: Becoming a Believer in Jesus Christ. COVENANT: An agreement (contract) between God and humankind, Genesis 12: 1-3. CULT: A quasi-religious group with obsessive observance of an unorthodox belief system. (D) DENOMINATION: A religious grouping with the same name and belief system. DOCTRINE: A Christian truth and teaching, 1 Timothy 4:16. DOGMA: A statement of belief regarding Christianity (see Doctrine). (E) ECCLESIASTICAL: Of or pertaining to the Church. ELECTION: God’s choosing of something, that is, His Call, His Foreknowledge, His Predestination, and His Determination, Romans 9:10-11.  ESCHATOLOGY: Study of the Biblical doctrine of the second coming of Christ and the last days (see Apocalypse, Revelation). EVANGELISM: Active instruction and invitation of unbelievers into the family of God through belief in Jesus Christ, Matthew 9:37. (F) FAITH: To believe in and trust, Hebrews 11:1,3. FOREKNEW: God’s fore love and choosing of us in the beginning, Romans 8:29. FUNDAMENTALIST: One who accepts the Bible literally. (G) GLORY: Weight and honor of God’s presence, John 1:14. GOSPEL: “Good News” of Jesus’s sacrifice for us, 2 Corinthenians 9:13. GRACE: Undeserved favor or gift from God, Ephesians 1:7-8, 2:5. (I) IMMANENCE: Indwelling presence of God. INTERCESSION: Christ speaking to God on our behalf, Romans 8:34. (J) JUDGMENT: God finding of the guilt of Sin, Ecclesiastes 12:14. JUSTIFICATION: God finding a Sinner not guilty by the imputed righteousness of Christ’s sacrifice, Romans 4:25, 5:1, 8:30. (L) LITURGY: Prescribed form of public worship. (O) ORDAIN: Authorization, endorsement, selection and calling to a high church office such as Teaching Elder (Pastor) or Ruling Elder by a swearing in and laying on of hands, Leviticus 8:10-13  . (P) PENTECOSTAL: Infilling of the Holy Spirit as manifested sometimes by “speaking in tongues” and other spiritual gifts, Acts 3:1-4. PREDESTINATION: God’s Election and Foreknowledge of Creational matters, Romans 8:30. PROPHECY: God’s desired word delivered by a chosen messenger or Prophet, 1 Corinthians 14:1-3. PROPITIATION: The act of self-sacrifice by Jesus Christ as atonement (payment in blood) to reconcile sinful humankind with God, Romans 3:25. (R) REGENERATION: The awakening of a person spiritually through the power of the Holy Spirit by Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ. REPENTANCE: Admission of sin, renouncing the “Old self” and literally walking in a new direction with Jesus Christ, Luke 13:3. REVELATION: God making Himself known to people and sometimes referring to the making known of events in the last days (Book of Revelation),  . (S) SACRIFICE: To give up or surrender a free will offering to God, as Jesus gave His life to pay for our sins, Romans 12:1. SANCTIFICATION: The act of and process of becoming Holy, Romans 6:11. SEPARATION: To go in a different direction, Ephesians 12:12-13. SIN: Rebellion of humans; disobedience of God, Genesis 3:14-19. SOVEREIGNTY: God’s power over all things as the Creator, Daniel 4:25.

(T) TRANSGRESSION: To go beyond a boundary. Sinful act(s) in defiance of God, Romans 4:7.

(U) UNIVERSALISM: A belief that all humankind will be granted Salvation. However, this doctrine runs counter to Biblical truth which says in Romans 10:9 “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Note: Additional “Churchy” words may be found in the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Holman Reference, 2003 and  based on the book “What People Ask about the Church” by Dr. Dale A. Robbins, Victorious Publications, Nashville, TN. Other aids used were various dictionaries and Bible Concordances.     

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